Overwatch was released on May 24th, 2016 to incredible hype and staggering success. The team-based FPS (First-Person Shooter) superhero game quickly soared to over 10 million players worldwide (PC, Xbox One, and PS4) and also surpassed the immensely popular League of Legends, as the most played game in Korean internet cafe’s. That stat may not seem like much, but that’s a very telling and impressive feat. The game is a first in many respects for Blizzard; it’s a FPS to start with, an entirely new genre for them, and it combines the company’s expertise at rich lore, character history, depth, colorful and beautifully rendered art as well as a cinematic quality soundtrack. These are all things Blizzard excels at with its usual lineup of games and they transferred that core DNA of quality over to the FPS realm while making it fun and addicting, and it paid off for them.
- 2. Body Summary
Overwatch is a blast to play. If you’ve played games like Team Fortress or similar titles, you’ll transition over easily and if you’ve never touched a team-based FPS you’ll be hooked instantly (no pun intended). That’s a reference to one of the tank role characters, Road Hog, who can hurl a barbed hook at enemies and draw them into himself for a close shot. The game is very fun, the characters all unique with strengths and weaknesses, and the different game types keep things interesting. It has a very diverse cast with heroes from all over the world and includes men, women, and non-humans. Every hero has unique abilities and every hero has a special “Ultimate” ability that can make or break matches for their team. It is a heavily team-based game so teamwork is important, vital rather, to winning. The game has a very heroic feel to it, which is intentional. Especially when first starting out, you feel as if you’re a member of your own personal “Avengers” team fighting another team of baddies. The music, the gameplay design, and the mechanics of the game all lend themself to this heroic design. After a match is over for example, the game chooses (based on an algorithm) what it thinks was the “best,” or most critical in some cases, play of the game and replays it in an epic highlight reel fashion.
There are 4 primary roles a player can choose heroes from (Offense, Defense, Tank, Support), although many roles can crossover if needed. There are 4 primary modes of play (Quick Play, Competitive, Brawl, and Custom) as well as a practice range/tutorial, and a “Versus AI” mode as well. As you progress in skill and games played, you will level up with a rating number. Every time you level up you get what’s called a “loot box” which contains things like new “voice lines” for different heroes to say, new skins or looks, new “sprays” (you can spray paint a chosen image onto almost any surface during gameplay just for fun), and more. There are 4 map types that you can play on: Assault, Escort, Hybrid (Assault+Escort), and Control.
Assault is a map type in which one team defends, the other attacks. The attacking team battles to capture objectives in sequence before time runs out. Each point they capture adds time to their timebank.
Escort On this map type the attacking team must escort a “payload” to the end point, with checkpoints in between that also add time to the timebank. As long as an attacking player is near the payload, it will move forward. If a defending player is also near the payload it will stop moving.
Hybrid combines the first two types where an attacking team must first capture a point, and after doing so, a payload will appear and then they must escort it to the end point.
Control is King of the Hill and goes to a best of 5.
Quickplay is a more casual game mode for just enjoying the game. Most players still try their best, yet it’s also a good place to hone your skills, practice with heroes you’re not as familiar with, etc. Since the game’s release however, Quickplay has become more and more casual, with some matches resulting in players picking ridiculous team compositions (such as all healers, or all tanks) just for fun. It can be a gamble, yet still beneficial for practicing without the fear of losing competitive ranking.
Competitive works very similarly to other Blizzard titles. It progresses in “Seasons” and your competitive ranking resets after each season ends. After playing 10 “Placement Matches” to determine your relative skill rating you will be placed into a skill tier. They are listed below with their respective skill rating. You gain skill rating points for winning matches, and lose rating points for losing matches. There are end of season rewards to reap for ranking highly.
Brawl is a fun and unique game type that changes regularly. There are seasonal events (such as a soccer game mode during the Summer Olympics, and a Halloween event during the month of October), and the most common type of Brawl is one in which the rules for matches are changed, such as random hero picking, 200% health, only support, etc.
The graphics are colorful, bright, and dynamic. They very accurately portray the superhero theme on which the game is based. The maps are all themed differently and are all based on a different character’s lore/past.
The story of Overwatch, which is the name of the superhero organization that was disbanded in the recent past, is told 60 years in the future, a dystopian future. One that was shattered during the “Omnic Crisis,” which was a war against rogue AI robots called Omnics that threatened to end humanity. Overwatch was instrumental in ending the Ominc Crisis. Shortly after, the group was disbanded in a plot story very similar to that of “Captain America: Civil War” and the “Sokovia Accords” that split the Avengers up. The lore and backstory of the characters and the world they live in can be found in a series of extremely high quality animated shorts that Blizzard released as well as other animated comics and media.
The audio is top-notch and vibrant. It matches the fast-paced, visually dynamic gameplay. The sound effects are crisp and imaginative. The soundtrack is epic, properly themed, and just as high quality as every other aspect of the game. The main theme could easily replace the Avengers’ main theme and every map has a properly themed intro song.
The game is fast-paced, rewarding, and heroic. You’re constantly working to build the charge of your hero’s Ultimate ability and then combine it with other members of your team, or solo it, to devastate the enemy team, or on the flip side to boost your own team to victory. The best word to describe the game is dynamic. Every character is vastly different in many respects. Some characters can fly, some can climb walls, some can build walls, some have shields some are ranged snipers, and some are giant hammer wielding melee heros. The game supports a broad range of gameplay styles. For those who are talented support players, you can heal, damage boost, resurrect your team, etc. If charging into battle and soaking up the damage for your team, you can play a tank, and the list goes on.
Overwatch is addictive, fun, heroic, dynamic and an all-around great game. It can be played casually, competitively, and everything in between. With the range of game modes, map types, and heros, there’s a style of play for just about everyone. The diverse cast leaves little to be desired with new content being released all the time. One of the major upsides to the game is that additional critical content, i.e. maps, characters, etc. will always be free in the future, that was Blizzard’s promise. You can play a quick 10 minute match, or delve into a few hour long session and you’ll enjoy either. The game reached such incredible heights of a player base so quickly for a reason. The lore, the diversity, the music, the art, the gameplay all combine into a masterpiece. It is available for 3 platforms (PC, Xbox One, PS4) and was acclaimed on all three for good reason. So, what are you waiting for? The world could always use more heroes!
Family friendly Rating
The game is rated “T” for Teen for Blood, Use of Tobacco, and Violence. There isn’t a story mode in Overwatch where anyone could dwell too long on any one aspect. The violence is obvious and not hidden, although it’s not at all gory or bloodbathed. The blood is very minimal, and almost non-existent. The use of tobacco is by only one character and he can been seen smoking a cigar occasionally. There is no mature language in the game. The only aspect that could be a concern for younger players is the slightly sexualized nature of the women in the game. It is very mild compared to most games out today, however, depending on the parent or player, it could be a concern. Most of the women, though not all, wear skin-tight outfits that highlight their femininity. None of them are ever exposed, but the outfits are tight enough to show all the curves, so parents may want to do a quick google search to see if it would be inappropriate for their younger gamers.
Reviewed By “FiveMinuteMajor”